If there’s one thing every traveler should have, it’s high quality gear from one of the best outdoor clothing brands on the market.
When I think about the top outdoor clothing companies, I look to see if they have three things: comfort, durability, and style.
The last of these often tend to be the hardest to find. There’s no point in having a winter jacket that lasts a lifetime if it looks terrible. Fortunately, there is plenty of gear out there that still looks good, even as you take on the great outdoors.
As a heads up for first-time buyers: outdoor clothing can get pricey. The first time I bought a heavy duty down jacket I almost had a heart attack. But, that winter coat has lasted me four years so far and helped me brave the winds of Patagonia.
Outdoor clothing is expensive but well worth the investment. I’m a strong believer in buying gear for life—just as long as you get the right travel gear.
Here are some of my favorite outdoor apparel brands to help get you started:
- Best Overall Outdoor Clothing: Arc’teryx
- Most Eco-Friendly Outdoor Clothing: Cotopaxi
- Best Outdoor Pants: KÜHL
- Best Hiking Boots: Forsake Co.
- Budget-Friendly Outdoor Clothing: Marmot
1. Arc’teryx: Best High Quality Outerwear
Let’s start with one of my personal favorite outdoor clothing brands of all time. Vancouver-based Arc’teryx is one of the market’s best outdoor clothing brands, hands down. It’s not the cheapest brand on the market, but their gear will last forever (literally).
They make gear of the highest quality, and it shows. Made for hiking, rock-climbing and other technical sports, Arc’teryx gear is made for every type of adventure. Although they are known for high-quality outdoor clothing and technical apparel, they also sell a wide variety of accessories, climbing gear and backpacks.
A mainstay in my bag is the Atom LT Hoody (Mens/Womens)—an Arc’teryx classic midlayer. You can wear it alone or layer it under a heavier coat for colder days. Warm, lightweight and good-looking, this bad-boy ticks all the boxes. Another one of their most well-known pieces is the original Alpha SV Jacket—a piece that will last you, literally, for your lifetime.
2. Cotopaxi: Most Eco-Friendly Outdoor Clothing
Named after the famous volcano in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is a company with a social conscience.
I love these guys because they created the Cotopaxi Foundation, which funds sustainable poverty alleviation projects. 1% of their annual revenue goes towards these different organizations, so you can buy their clothing knowing you’re contributing to something good.
The outerwear on offer with Cotopaxi is on the lower end of the price scale, but the company hasn’t compromised on quality. Their colorful line of parkas and fleeces are extremely comfortable. And their hoodies and tees are produced with recycled and organic materials.
Llama fiber and goose down are staple materials among the brand’s products—these guys are good. With Cotopaxi, you can stay warm while also doing your share to help the environment.
3. KÜHL: Best Quality Pants
Predominantly focused on mountain wear, KÜHL has made a name for itself because of its selection of pants. Most of their hiking pants are under $100, making them one of the most affordable brands. Besides pants, they also sell tops, outwear, accessories for both men and women.
Check out their website to see everything KÜHL has available. You’ll be able to narrow your search based on the fabric you want, the size you need, or even by the activity you’re planning on undertaking.
The clothes at KÜHL is invariably top quality and is probably the most stylish outerwear companies on the market at the moment. Their unique fabrics and vintage washes make it one of my favorite travel clothing brands in the outdoor clothing category.
4. Kathmandu: Best Outdoor Equipment
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, Kathmandu has what you need.
Originally from New Zealand, this outdoor brand has virtually everything you could ever need for almost every type of outdoor activity. From carry-on backpacks to sleeping bags to rain covers for your luggage, Kathmandu has something for every category.
The company also sells clothing, most of which are made using merino wool. There are tons of benefits to wearing merino wool. But the biggest benefit is that it can regulate your body temperature while also staying odor resistant—a huge help for those showerless, multi-day treks!
However, Kathmandu produces more than just outdoor clothes for traveling. Their v-neck sweaters, scarves, and pullovers can also be worn lounging at home or spending a day exploring the city. Check them out online and find something to keep you warm during your next trip!
5. Patagonia: Best Down Jackets
Another one of the most popular brands is Patagonia, which distinguishes itself in this sector with its commitment to saving the environment. The brand’s new ReCircle line contains clothing made from renewable wood and recycled cotton scraps.
They also give 1% of their earnings to non-profit groups and organizations. Over the past 35 years, they’ve donated more than $89 million different grassroots environmental campaigns around the world. This means you can shop for and wear your new gear guilt-free.
They sell an array of items, including clothing, backpacks and bags, sleeping bags, jackets and more. In terms of quality, their items are high-end, but the prices remain in the midrange region. While jackets can run into the hundreds of dollars, at Patagonia you can kit yourself out reasonably well without breaking the bank.
6. Foresake Co.: Best Hiking Books
A comfy pair of hiking boots is necessary. Thankfully, the folks at Forsake Co. have designed a line of versatile footwear that can be worn practically anywhere. Unlike traditional bulky hiking boots, Forsake Co. shoes are stylish and made to fit your active lifestyle.
Strap on these rugged boots for a trek up the mountain, or slip on the moisture-wicking sneakers for a jaunt around the city. The best thing about Forsake Co. footwear is that you can wear them for almost every type of activity.
Personally, I love their Phil Mid boot. Made from leather and breathable mesh, they’ve become my new favorite all-rounder boots for winter. But in all seriousness, their impressive selection of functional footwear makes it one of my favorite clothing brands. Dry feet can be yours at last!
7. Marmot: Best Outdoor Apparel in General
Marmot is one of those companies that offers the golden combination of good quality and reasonable prices. In fact, they’re more affordable than other big name brands on this list. For $100, you can get an all-purpose jacket that will last you years (or even decades).
Although they produce great outdoor apparel, Marmot also specializes in outdoor gear, like winter jackets, merino wool, technical apparel, rain gear and backpacks. This is one of the few brands that has all kinds of travel gear for sale on its website, including backpacking tents of varying sizes.
Have you ever gone camping with a sub-standard tent? I have–it’s not pretty. Invest a little in one of Marmot’s quality tents and you won’t regret it next time you’re caught camping in a downpour.
8. Give’r: Best Outdoor Brand for Gloves
One of the things Give’r is best known for is its hardcore, heavy-duty gloves. These bad boys can handle fire, ice, boiling water – you name it. They’re built with durable cowhide and waterproof materials, which can withstand temperatures from -40°F to 400°F.
On top of its catalog of gloves, Give’r has a decent collection of headwear, shirts, and accessories. You’ll even find unique product like waterproof dog collars and leashes, neck coozies, and stickers.
A far cry from the like of full-service brands like Patagonia, Give’r’s product line is somewhat limited. However, the clothing on offer is unique and you’re unlikely to see any duplicates while you’re on the road. Plus, you’re supporting one of the little guys, which always feels nice.
9. Black Diamond: Best for Climbing Gear
Black Diamond is one of my favorite brands to specialize in outdoor sports equipment and accessories. They manufacture stuff for almost every type of activity imaginable! Climbing, skiing, mountain and trail trekking – Black Diamond has it all.
One of their best selling items is the spring-loaded camming device for rock climbers. However, check out their site for other accessories like helmets, harnesses, tents, and carabiners.
If you’re looking for clothing, then Black Diamond also has you covered. They sell jackets, hoodies, gloves and hats to keep you warm and cozy during your trip.
10. Outdoor Research: Best Brand for Outdoor Equipment
Outdoor Research‘s mission is to provide gear that inspires people to venture outdoors. As one of the biggest outdoor brands in the United States, they sell thousands of clothing items for a wide range of activities. You’ll find jackets, ski pants, alpine gloves and everything in between.
They have also partnered with dozens of brands and non-profits to promote outdoor education and environmental stability. One of my favorite organizations they work with is #SheAdventures, a scholarship program to promote and empower strong, female athletes.
11. Smartwool: Best Outdoor Clothing Brand for Merino Wool
Wool clothing can be warm, but it’s often itchy and hard to clean or take care of. But not Smartwool! This innovated company has designed a line of itch-free, moisture-wicking and shrink-resistant wool products for different types of outdoor activities.
They make base layers to keep you warm, breathable undergarments to keep odors at bay, and even socks and scarfs for winter. Prices tend to be higher than average. But trust me – they’re some of the softest and comfiest pieces of clothing you’ll ever wear!
12. Columbia: Best All-Around Outdoor Clothing Brand
Columbia is one of those outdoor brands that has just about everything you could possibly want when it comes to clothing. Whether you’re skiing, hiking or even fishing, Columbia is a brand that is guaranteed to fit you out in style.
Specializing in clothing and apparel, Columbia sells high-end jackets, pullovers, and base layers. However, they also sell backs, coolers, and other equipment for travel. Essentially, they stock everything you could ever need for your trip.
Having tried out a number of its products, I can vouch for the brand with confidence. The brand’s products are high quality with excellent durability and I wouldn’t have survived Peru’s Sacred Valley without my Columbia hiking boots. I also love their Ascender Soft Shell Jacket, which is versatile enough to wear in the spring or in the fall.
Bonus: Columbia’s products are very affordable!
13. The North Face: Best Outdoor Clothing Brand for Snow Sports
The North Face might be one of the most recognizable brands on this lis. No doubt you’ve already seen people sporting this mainstay outerwear brand on some hiking route somewhere. Once you try a pair of pants or a jacket, you’ll see why they’re considered one of the best outdoor brands in the world.
Whether you need a rain jacket for skiing or pants for yoga, The North Face has got you covered and you won’t look like a dork wearing its gear.
Besides clothing, The North Face also specializes in luggage, backpacks, rain gear and winter jackets. Not to mention, the brand is pretty moderately priced given its excellent quality.
14. Osprey: Best Outdoor Brand for Hiking & Backpacking
You can’t talk about backpacking without mentioning one of the biggest backpack brands, Osprey.
Focusing predominantly on bags, Osprey has a huge range of backpacks for every kind of travel—like the Osprey ATMOS 65, a classic hiking pack. They also have different bags for cycling, biking, climbing, and even diving!
Within the products section, you can shop by activity – this will help you find the exact bag you need, no matter what type of journey you’re embarking on.
In addition to backpacks, Osprey offers a range of bag-related accessories, including bag covers and toiletries packs. They also sell durable packing cubes to keep your clothing and other items organized while traveling. If you’re looking for a bag that you’ll get some serious wear out of, search no further.
15. Mammut: Best All-Weather Outdoor Clothing
Based out of snowy Switzerland, Mammut is another well-known outdoor clothing brands that specializes in outdoor gear. Their comprehensive product line ranges from winter apparel and backpacks to climbing equipment and ropes. They even sell stuff to keep you safe during an avalanche, like airbags and high-tech avalanche beacons.
However, Mammut is known for it’s durable and protective all-weather clothing. Built to keep you warm even in the harshest of conditions, their award-winning hardshell parkas and insulated jackets are made with windproof and waterproof fibers. These babies are practically built for a trip to the mountains.
Although it’s not the cheapest company on this list (jackets are between $250 and $700), you can still find a durable jacket or parka for your trip. But if you’re looking for quality, then look no further than Mammut.
I can guarantee that your jacket will last through the most rugged of adventures.
16. Jack Wolfskin: Best Selection of Outdoor Clothing for Travel, Hiking & Skiing
With over 700 stores across the world, German-based company Jack Wolfskin is one of the largest brands for outdoor apparel and sports equipment. They sell everything from pants and fleeces to travel packs and sleeping bags. And if you’re taking your little ones up to the mountain with you, they also have big selection of jackets, tops and footwear to purchase for kids.
Check them out online and browse through hundreds of items for everyday travel, hiking, or skiing. You can even shop through their collection of recycled pants and jackets, which are made from 100% recyclable fabrics! Now you can do your part in protecting the environment while also looking super stylish.
Best of all, Jack Wolfskin products are extremely affordable, especially compared to other clothing brands. You can get a durable parka for under $200 and a backpack for under $100.
17. Berghaus: Best Winter Jackets
Although they may be relatively new to the American market, Berghaus is one of the biggest outdoor clothing brands in the United Kingdom and Europe. Their collection of clothing and footwear is suitable for a wide range of activities, like climbing, biking, and mountaineering.
Their insulated jackets and mid layers are perfect for staying warm and cozy no matter where you are in the world. They also sell a collection of items built with Gore-Tex tech, the absolute standard in waterproof clothing. If you’re trekking through rain or snow, you won’t want to go anywhere with Gore-Tex boots or pants.
Berghaus also takes measures to ensure that its brands remain environmentally and ethically conscious. They use recycled materials and energy efficient dying processes to produce their clothing. They have also partnered with the John Muir Trust, European Outdoor Conservation Association, and Community Action Nepal to support local projects in different communities.
18. Helly Hansen: Best Outdoor Clothing Brand for Jackets
Whether you’re trekking through the mountains or skiing down the slopes, Helly Hansen has you covered. Literally.
As one of the biggest brands to come out of Norway, Helly Hansen has produced outdoor equipment for almost 150 years.
Although they sell a wide range of sports gear and accessories, they specialize in outdoor apparel. Their down jackets, parkas, and rain shells are moderately priced, especially considering the high level of quality.
Helly Hansen has also designed a line of life and leisure wear, ideal for hanging around the house or hitting the beach. This is one of the few brands on the market that sells fashionable stuff like swimsuits, dresses, and underwear.
19. Barbour: Best for Everyday Jackets and Sweaters
Focusing on ready-to-wear clothing, Barbour is one of the best outdoor clothing brands for everyday jackets and sweaters. They’ve been selling high-quality garments to the UK market for over 120 years. In fact, Barbour even has royal warrant to supply the Queen of English with all her waterproof and protective clothing!
Out of all their products, Barbour is most famously known for selling waxed cotton jackets. This elegant jacket comes in a variety of colors and is guaranteed to be a timeless staple in your closet. Barbour even provides a service to re-wax, repair or alter your jacket, so you can wear it for years to come.
Which of these are you trying out on your next adventure? Let me know in the comments below!